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Crime

Edmonton e-scooters set on fire, companies say they’ve never seen anything like it

WATCH ABOVE: E-scooters have only been used in Edmonton for a couple of months but Global News has learned they are being targeted by vandals in an organized fashion. Julia Wong reports.

Dozens of e-scooters have been set on fire in Edmonton, according to the two companies that operate the products.

The e-scooters were introduced roughly two months ago, and companies Bird Canada and Lime said this is the first time their products have ever been the target of arson.

Alexandra Petre, general manager for Bird Canada, said the first scooters were burned in early September and the incidents have not stopped. She said the consoles are being specifically targeted.

“Somebody basically decided it would be a good idea to blowtorch this part,” she said.

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Petre said more than 50 e-scooters have been found burned and the company believes it is an organized effort.

READ MORE: Edmonton mayor not impressed with e-scooter use: ‘It’s not going well’

“The person or the group of people who are doing this is actually walking around and finding scooters that are left on the street, wherever the rider finished their ride, and burning them,” she said.

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Petre said some of the damage can be repaired but that is not always the case.

“This is obviously very saddening for our business, especially because our ridership in Edmonton is actually very big and a lot of people were very excited when the scooters arrived,” she said.

“This comes as a shock to us.”

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She said Bird operates in more than 100 cities worldwide and has never encountered anything like this.

READ MORE: E-scooters zipping around Edmonton cause for excitement and concern

“Obviously there are incidents of vandalism and theft throughout our locations, however, arson is definitely a first for us,” she said.

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Petre said the company is taking action to protect its products.

“Some of our riders in Edmonton will see that scooters might not be as available in areas where they were previously available,” she said.

“What we try to do is make sure all of our scooters are left in well-lit areas in front of security cameras of stores.”

A Lime spokesperson said the company is experiencing the same issue but declined to provide an exact number of how many e-scooters have been burned.

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The spokesperson also said this issue is not happening in any other city the company operates in.

Edmonton police said the incidents are under investigation.

A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console.
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console. Courtesy/Bird Canada
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console.
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console. Courtesy/Bird Canada
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console.
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console. Courtesy/Bird Canada
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console.
A photo of a burned Bird e-scooter console. Courtesy/Bird Canada